Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Wolfgang Herrndorf: Everybody's Darling

They've announced the winner of the mere mortals' vote for the Prize of the Leipzig Book Fair, and it's Wolfgang Herrndorf's Tschick*. Followed by Arno Geiger's Der alte König in seinem Exil.

And as luck would have it, I'm actually reading Tschick right now. So I can tell you it's a very accessible novel about a fifteen-year old boy who goes on a bit of a bender with his Russian classmate. I'll post a review soon, but I do have to say that it's fun, funny and moving. Plus literally everyone I know who's read it has loved it.

I did have to overcome a personal prejudice to read Herrndorf, though, I have to admit. Because a couple of years ago I sat at the same table as him somewhere or other, and someone or other came past looking for the distinguished poet, prose author and creative writing doyen Michael Lentz. Both Lentz and Herrndorf are tall and bald. So the person comes up to Herrndorf and says, "Are you Michael Lentz?" And Herrndorf says in the world's most arrogant tone: "No, but I am Wolfgang Herrndorf."

But hey, it would seem the guy can write. Follow the link with the asterisk for a sample translation by Jefferson Chase (who, it turns out, is also the hard-working translator of Daniel Domscheidt-Berg's tell-all Wikileaks memoir).

Update: You know how I said Herrndorf is bald? Well, he's not any more. Which goes to show that my irrational prejudices last longer than hairstyles. I saw a recent picture of him on his blog.

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